This week the Religious Exemption Accountability Project's Erin Green, Campus and Alumni Organizer and M.Div., released a statement in response to the Board of Trustees at Fresno Pacific University denying official status for a proposed LGBTQ+ student organization. Erin said:
The Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) team is deeply disappointed by the recent actions of the Fresno Pacific University Board of Trustees and their decision to deny official status for the proposed LGBTQ student club as of 10/26/21.
The Board’s decision directly ignores the more than 1,000 signers of the FPU LGBTQ community’s petition. The Board’s decision also fails to heed the word of 17 clergy members who signed a letter supporting the approval of the LGBTQ Pride Club for Queer and Trans students at FPU. This egregious decision defies both the needs of the student community as well as the wishes of the public in general.
Fresno Pacific University feels empowered to adopt this discriminatory position due to its Title IX exemption granted by the Department of Education. This is why REAP’s lawsuit, filed against the DOE to stop these exemptions, is critical in preventing such action on the campuses of other religious colleges and universities like Fresno Pacific.
Not only does this decision harm the LGBTQ community at Fresno Pacific, but it unfairly holds them to a different standard than their straight peers. To be clear, the students are not requesting a change in FPU’s marriage statement. They are simply requesting to gather and form a club for LGBTQ students.
It is impossible for Fresno Pacific University and its administration to honor the dignity, worth, and value of the Queer student community while lambasting these students with discriminatory claims that their self-advocacy is not in line with the Gospel of Christ. The action of the board demonstrates bad will toward the LGBTQ community at FPU and treatment that is harmful, abusive, and damaging to a safe learning environment.
REAP is committed to supporting the Queer and Trans community in their next steps addressing the discrimination at Fresno Pacific University.